Bridge repairs are underway across the Venetian Causeway. For the past 6 months, thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians have been anticipating the re-opening of this critical and scenic corridor connecting Miami Beach to the mainland. Due to the bridge closure, non-motorists have been forced to reroute their east-west commutes across the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways, both high-stress commuter routes offering little protection with cars zooming by at 60+ mph speeds.
Just last week we highlighted a new green bike lane across Miami Beach’s 16th street. The Venetian Causeway bridge repair in another critical component adding to Miami’s 21st century built environment where cars, bikes and peds all benefit from improved accessibility and protection.
*Photo courtesy Michael Matthews
Just last week, another texting & driving tragedy hit close to home as Miami Bike & Build rider Patrick Wanninkhof was struck and killed due to a distracted driver who was too busy on the cell phone rather than paying attention to the road. This simple yet highly dangerous act of driving negligence has claimed too many innocent victims, and has communities across the country struggling to find solutions.
Florida Department of Transportation has recently launched its Put It Down campaign aimed at educating the public about the dangers of driving while texting. Green Mobility is a proud partner in this campaign and will begin distributing informative data with hopes to educate the local community and inspire us all to #PutitDown! For those who are ready to 100% give up driving and texting (or those who already have), please sign this Pledge Card, and share it with your neighbors, family, and friends.
Thanks to the American Public Health Association for advocating for walking and bicycling during its annual National Public Health Week this month. Some of the important national data they shared:
- In 2010, more than 4,200 pedestrians died in traffic crashes — a 4 percent increase from 2009.That same year about 70,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic crashes.
- More than 600 bicyclists died in motor vehicle crashes in 2010 and 52,000 were injured.
- More than 15 people are killed every day in the U.S. and more than 1,200 are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
You can learn more and join their efforts at their website.
The year in jail that Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas sentenced Michele Traverso to is far too insignificant for killing Aaron Cohen last year.
We share the outrage of the cycling community and sympathize with the Cohen family for what certainly seems a continuation of this awful tragedy. Aaron Cohen’s death was, unfortunately, one of many on Florida’s roads, as our state was the top-ranked state for bicyclist and pedestrian deaths in 2012, according to the Alliance for Biking and Walking.
Florida should be doing more to protect vulnerable people from this careless violence. The Legislature needs to pass better laws so that police and prosecutors can charge criminals appropriately for such death and injury. Judges should realize that society benefits when dangerous drivers have strong incentives to respect the wellbeing of others. The small risk of getting caught, and small penalties if convicted are out of line with the excess of deaths by motor vehicle and the horrible consequences for victims’ families and all of Florida.
Normal responsible drivers know to keep a safe distance away from bicycles, drive at reasonable speeds, obey signals and signs, and give up the steering wheel when necessary. Irresponsible drivers make it necessary to adopt more specific laws and strong penalties in order to keep us all safe on shared roads.
At the local level, Aaron Cohen’s memory can best be served if we, as a community, join together to improve the safety of our roadways in his honor. By supporting efforts to improve conditions for cyclists, pedestrians, and all users of our roadways with a renewed sense of urgency, we help to diminish the utter senselessness of his death. One important step would be for Miami’s leaders to implement the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, which was created in 2009 but is still far from being a reality. Continue reading Let’s Channel the Anger Over Traverso
Green Mobility Network has been actively involved in advocating for, monitoring, and supporting the construction of two new bicycle-pedestrian bridges during 2012-13.
The first to open is the bridge across the entrance to the Snapper Creek Expressway just north of Dadeland. Previously, bicyclists, pedestrians, and runners had to cross one of the most dangerous intersections in Miami-Dade County at grade level. The second, which will open early in 2013, crosses the Coral Gables Waterway at Cocoplum Circle. Both of these important projects will help to ensure the safety of future generations of bicyclists, walkers, and runners who use the M Path and the Commodore and Old Cutler trails. Both projects required many hours of our volunteers attending meetings and participating in reviews and discussions—the kind of behind-the-scenes work at the heart of our advocacy efforts.
Photos: Top, Snapper Creek Expressway bridge north of Dadeland soon after opening. Bottom: Bridge at Cocoplum Circle under construction, fall 2012, opening early in 2013.
This Canada-based organization, inspired by urban planner Jane Jacobs, provides a walkability toolkit for assessing how to make neighborhoods more livable.